Daily competition highlights for the 2012 Olympics
Last Updated: 15/02/11 10:28am
Usain Bolt is expected to go for gold on August 5
It is almost six years since the 2012 Olympics were awarded to London. With the publication of a full competition schedule, the realisation has dawned that the Games are nearly upon us.
The very fact that we now know that the fastest men in the world will be lining up at the start of the 100metres on the evening of Sunday, August 5 is enough to set pulses racing: will Usain be another Bolt from the blue, will he be striking
his unforgettable pose, or will Tyson Gay eclipse the sunshine boy of sprint?
The prospect of watching the first ever women's boxing finals on August 9, and the start of the men's boxing finals 48 hours later, is now a prospect we can truly savour.
The publication of the schedule means that Olympics fans can already start planning their Games, hoping to secure the tickets they want and anticipating the arrival of the greatest multi-sports show on earth.
Here are some of the key dates for your diary:
The very first event of the London 2012 Games will actually not take place in the capital but 150 miles away in Cardiff. That will be a women's football match at the Millennium Stadium at 4pm on July 25, two days before the Opening Ceremony.
An hour later, two other women's matches kick off, at Hampden Park, Glasgow, and in Coventry.
Apart from football, the first Olympic action will be in archery, in ranking events at Lord's cricket ground on the afternoon of July 27, several hours before the Opening Ceremony in the Olympic Stadium.
No fewer than 21 sports start their sporting action on the opening Saturday. The first medals will be won in women's weightlifting and the men's air pistol and women's air rifle shooting, but the real excitement that day will be in the cycling's men's road race which comes to a climax among the crowds in the Mall in central London.
All eyes will be on Mark Cavendish then on a course that cycling aficionados say is just made for the Manxman. Should Cavendish triumph it will also continue the trends of the last three Games where a cyclist has won the first gold for Britain.
The evening of that Saturday will also see the first medals won in the Olympic Park: swimming has that honour, with four gold medals up for grabs at the Aquatics Centre: men's 400m freestyle and 400m individual medley, and the women's 400m individual medley and 4 x 100m freestyle relay.
It's the final of the women's 400m freestyle at the Aquatics Centre, one of two events Rebecca Adlington won for Britain at Beijing 2008.
Nicole Cooke, who won Britain's first gold medal in Beijing will want to defend her title in the women's cycling road race while the new Wembley Stadium makes its Olympic debut, hosting two men's football group games.
Australian swimming legend Ian Thorpe recently announced his comeback and if he makes it to 2012, the men's 200m freestyle will be the likely scene for a showdown with 14-time Olympic gold medallist Michael Phelps.
Earlier in the day, the Aquatics Centre hosts the men's 10m synchronised platform diving final - one of Tom Daley's events.
Sailing gets into full swing in Weymouth with almost every class in action although there are no medals on offer.
Euan Burton is GB's top judo player and likely to fight for a first Olympic judo gold in British history in the men's 81kg category.
Rower Greg Searle goes for Olympic gold for Britain after 10 years in retirement. Searle won rowing gold at Barcelona 1992 and is part of the British men's eight, who should be in contention for a medal at Eton Dorney.
Cycling's time trials take place at Hampton Court Palace while it's the final day of the Olympic football group stages in Glasgow, Newcastle, Coventry, Cardiff and Manchester.
Attention switches to the Olympic velodrome with the men's and women's team sprint competitions. Sir Chris Hoy led GB's men to victory in Beijing, while this marks the debut of the newly introduced women's event.
David Florence and Richard Hounslow are world bronze medallists in the men's slalom canoe double, and they could add an Olympic medal on the last day of events at Lee Valley (£35-£150).
The Olympic Stadium's track and field events begin on what could be a blockbuster day for Britain's big names.
This is one of the busiest days of the Games with 24 sports in action, chief among them athletics, which begins with the men's shot putt and women's 10,000m finals inside the Olympic Stadium.
In the velodrome, Britain's men's team pursuiters defend their Olympic crown with Bradley Wiggins expected to go for gold.
Later, Rebecca Adlington has another chance to light up the Aquatics Centre in the women's 800m freestyle final, while GB duo Gemma Spofforth and Lizzie Simmonds could scrap for 200m backstroke gold.
At Eton Dorney, Britain's Katherine Grainger - a silver medallist at the last three Olympics - may make a fourth attempt at rowing gold, this time in the women's double sculls.
The biggest weekend of the Games begins as Britain's Jessica Ennis could win women's heptathlon gold.
Ennis' event is one of the first athletics medals to be decided at the Games, at primetime on Saturday night - just after the women's 100m final.
The Olympic rowing competition finishes with the men's fours and lightweight double sculls the highlights of the final day, the latter likely to involve GB duo Zac Purchase and Mark Hunter.
Swimming also bows out with lively relay events and the lightning-fast women's 50m freestyle final.
Long considered the blue riband event of the Olympic Games, Usain Bolt is expected to defend his title in the men's 100m final.
GB's Christine Ohuruogu will also hope to defend her women's 400m Olympic title while the women's marathon takes place on London's streets. Britain's hopes in the event are likely to include Paula Radcliffe and Mara Yamauchi.At Wimbledon, the Olympic tennis tournament concludes with a men's singles final which home supporters will hope stars Britain's Andy Murray.
Sir Chris Hoy and Beth Tweddle will look to lead British medal hopes as defending champion Hoy goes in cycling's men's sprint.
At 27, gymnast Tweddle could be a decade older than some of her rivals at the London Games. But she is the current uneven bars world champion and may capture the Olympic medal she currently lacks in the same event.
Inside the Olympic Stadium, spectators should get to see Russian pole vault superstar Yelena Isinbayeva in action, alongside the finals of the men's 400m and 400m hurdles, and the victory ceremony for the previous night's men's 100m final.
Hyde Park hosts the men's triathlon as Alistair Brownlee goes for a home gold medal in the men's triathlon.
Later that day, events in the velodrome round off with the men's keirin - won by Sir Chris Hoy in Beijing, though he may not compete in the event here - and the women's omnium and sprint races. GB's Victoria Pendleton is the defending champion in the latter.
Finals at the Olympic Stadium include the men's 1500m, high jump and discus, and the women's 100m hurdles.
Tim Brabants stormed to victory in the men's kayak single 1000m race in Beijing. Having taken two years away from the sport to work as a doctor he returned in 2010 and this could be his big day at Eton Dorney, which turns into the home of sprint canoeing after the rowing finishes.
Track and field medals on offer at the Olympic Stadium include the men's 110m hurdles and the women's 200m, 400m hurdles and long jump.
Phillips Idowu has a chance at triple jump gold as he looks to go one better than four years ago. The triple jump takes place alongside the men's 200m inside the Olympic Stadium.
Men's boxing reaches a packed day of semi-finals at the ExCel. British names who may still be in the hunt at this stage include lightweight Tom Stalker and light-welterweight Bradley Saunders.
Shanaze Reade was one of Britain's brightest medal hopes in Beijing, but she fell from her BMX bike and missed out in 2008. She is back to fight for gold in 2012.
Relay finals begin at the Olympic Stadium, featuring the women's 4x100m and the men's 4x400m contests while the women's gold-medal hockey match takes place inside the Olympic Park.
The centrepiece of the day is the men's football final at Wembley. Later that evening, the men's hockey gold medallists are also decided at the Olympic Park.
It's the last of the action in track and field including the men's 4x100m and women's 4x400m relays, plus the men's 5000m and javelin finals, and the women's 800m and high jump finals.
The second of Tom Daley's two events, the individual 10m platform dive, reaches its final inside the Aquatics Centre while inside the ExCel, the men's boxing finals begin with five Olympic titles up for grabs.
Boxing and modern pentathlon conclude the Olympic Games, ahead of the closing ceremony along with London 2012's final athletics event - the men's marathon.
London will hand over to Rio for the 2016 Olympics with the spectacle of the closing ceremony inside the Olympic Stadium.